3 Techniques to Ground You When Feeling Anxious
I need grounding techniques because I carry a diagnosis of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This diagnosis has many symptoms that I have struggled to gain control of over the years, the most prevalent being my severe anxiety.
I experience anxiety most when I am in large crowds or crowds that are less than accepting. After a year in the pandemic with social distancing being the norm, my anxiety has gotten progressively worse. I have learned new techniques to stay grounded when my anxiety sets in. These are three grounding techniques that have worked for me.
My Favorite 3 Grounding Techniques
1. Focus on What You Can Control When Anxiety Strikes
I am an outgoing individual, and everyday trips to the store never caused me anxiety. Now that we have spent a year being away from others and being told to socially distance and isolate, crowds at the store cause me to feel anxious. Upon walking into a crowded grocery store, my anxiety triggers are immediately present. My palms begin to sweat, I can't focus on conversation, and all sounds feel amplified. These triggers let me know I need to take action before my anxiety becomes a full-blown panic attack.
I begin by assessing what I can control. I am unable to control the sound of the music or the store inhabitants. I can control where my focus lies. A few deep breaths, and I can begin turning my attention inward to focus on what items I need and where they reside in the store.
2. Do Not Let Anxiety Take Your Breath Away
One of those triggers I mentioned above includes irregular breathing. Often when we begin to feel anxious, we do not notice our breathing is irregular until it is past the point of return. What if you could regulate your breathing so that the rest of your physical reactions would also begin to subside?
My go-to technique is to close my eyes and just breathe. Yes, even in the middle of a crowded grocery store, I close my eyes and focus on my breathing when I notice it has quickened or is labored. This regulation of breathing can ground you in the present moment leading to your anxiety subsiding sooner.
3. Leave Your Assumptions and Anxiety at the Door
My gender expression can cause me anxiety at times. I am a lesbian woman who dresses in a more masculine way and has a short haircut. My outward appearance can cause others to judge me in public. I have experienced being asked what I am in regards to gender as well as called "sir" regularly. These types of uncomfortable situations cause me anxiety.
This leads to me avoiding certain places or being on high alert when I am in an establishment. Many individuals in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual, etc. (LGBTQIA+) community deal with similar anxieties when out in public. This can be caused by outward gender expression not matching the societal norm of what each gender should present as. Having to worry if your appearance will cause ridicule can be stressful and anxiety-inducing.
I have found that dropping my assumptions at the door before entering an establishment is the easiest way to rid myself of this anxiety. When I am met with situations where my LGBTQIA+ community involvement or gender expression is questioned, I educate those asking as opposed to feeling fear or anger.
These techniques have helped me navigate the pandemic lifestyle and those not as accepting of the LGBTQIA+ community. What techniques have helped your anxiety this past year? What techniques used to work but no longer help your anxiety? Leave your comments, stories, and thoughts below.
Nolasco, M. (2021, March 28). 3 Techniques to Ground You When Feeling Anxious, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, February 7 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/thelifelgbt/2021/3/3-techniques-to-ground-you-when-feeling-anxious